Thursday 13 August 2020

Barclay Perkins Ale grists before WW II

It’s now time to turn our attention of the ingredients Barclay Perkins were using. Rather a lot of them, as it turns out.

Many breweries used a very limited range of ingredients in their beers. In Scotland, for example, many brewers only had base malt in their beers, along with adjuncts and sugar. While Barclay’s seven different malts just in their Ales.

They were big fans of employing different base malts for different types of beer. As well as employing multiple base malts in one beer.

For example, their Milds had no fewer than three base malt: pale malt, mild malt and SA malt. The latter being a malt which produced a less fermentable wort and which was originally developed for use in Stock Ales where it would provide fermentables for the secondary conditioning with Brettanomyces.

In addition, the Milds also contain amber malt and crystal malt. The former had been a feature of their Mild grists since before WW I, though it was a slightly unusual ingredient for the style. Crystal malt, which was developed for use in beer like Mild Ale, only appeared later. Intermittently in the latter war years, then consistently from 1919 onwards.

The Pale Ales contain only base malt, though there are two types: pale malt and PA malt. The latter was the very palest and best-quality pale malt, intended, as the name betrays, for use in Pale Ales.

Not the absence of crystal malt in the Pale Ales. While it may have been a standard ingredient in this type of beer after WW I, before then it was rarely used. In the case of Barclay Perkins, its introduction was in 1941. I assume its use was intended to increase the body in compensation for cuts in gravity.

Amongst the Burton Ales, there’s less consistency in the malts employed. Including crystal, mild and SA malt, the grist of the draught version of KK resembles that of the Milds, except for the lack of amber malt. Not sure why that tiny amount of lager malt was included, unless they had too much of it lying around and they wanted to use it up.

The two stronger Burton Ales have simpler grists, combining pale, amber and PA malts. Few brewers were as fiddly as this with their malts. Each type of beer has its own distinctive grists.

Interestingly, the Brown Ale has a very similar recipe to the strong Burton Ales. This was also the case at Whitbread, where 33 (their Burton) and Double Brown shared an identical grist.

Barclay Perkins Ale malts before WW II
Year Beer Style pale malt amber malt crystal malt mold malt SA malt PA malt lager malt
1936 DB Brown Ale 19.19%   11.14%     46.43%  
1939 A Mild 18.52% 3.37% 5.05% 31.15% 15.99%    
1939 X Mild 18.52% 3.37% 5.05% 31.15% 15.99%    
1939 XX Mild 18.52% 3.37% 5.05% 31.15% 15.99%    
1939 IPA (bottling) IPA 21.48%         49.74%  
1939 XLK (bottling) Pale Ale 21.20%         50.02%  
1939 XLK (trade) Pale Ale 21.50%         50.63%  
1939 PA Pale Ale 21.50%         50.63%  
1936 PA Export Pale Ale 31.73%         60.58%  
1936 KK Strong Ale 19.28%   4.63% 41.64% 8.48%   3.08%
1937 KK (bottling) Strong Ale 19.02%   6.11%     50.94%  
1936 KKKK Strong Ale 29.35%   7.17%     52.17%  
Barclay Perkins brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers ACC/2305/01/621 and ACC/2305/01/623.

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